Iran War Games to Defend Nuclear Sites
This past Sunday, Iran began a five day war games exercise designed to simulate a response to potential attacks on their nuclear sites. The exercise is a negative signal to the International Atomic Energy Agency which has been trying to negotiate with Iran to reduce its law-enriched uranium stock pile to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Iran government’s military officials have stated that the exercise will demonstrate its military readiness to protect against any attack, claiming the maneuvers are aimed at practicing responses to simulated attacks on the country’s nuclear facilities.
The five-day drill spreads across the central, western and southern parts of the country, with Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard, the paramilitary Basij forces affiliated with the Guard, and army units all involved. The exercise, dubbed “AsemaneVelayat 1,” will be the largest air defense simulation in the nation’s history.
However, these war games have been accompanied by a rise in the blood pressure in the U.S., Israel and Iran. Mojhtaba Zolnoor, an aide in the elite Revolutionary Guards to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that “[i]f the enemy attacks Iran, our missiles will strike TelAviv.” The drill will not involve any specific enemy but only a hypothetical one, but Israel in particular has regularly threatened to attack Iran and has even gone to great lengths to arrange air corridors for such an attack. The United States and Israel have not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to resolve the row over Iranian nuclear work that the West suspects is aimed at making bombs. This situation has also intensified recently, as the U.S. yesterday pitched a unique F-35 fighter jet to Israeli forces. Reports have also said Israel has been preparing to launch an attack as soon as next month, and it seems the exercise is in no small part aimed at preparing for that eventuality; however, these reports have persisted for years, so it is unclear whether these new threats are serious or rhetorical.